AppData Folder in Windows Vista

The AppData folder in Windows Vista is equal to the Documents and Settings folder in Windows XP. The AppData folder is also hidden in Vista.

To unhide this folder (and others), open the Folder Options in the Vista Control Panel, and on the “View” tab, change the option to “show hidden files and folders”, and click ok.

According to

“The key phrase is, change in location.  Vista has a new Users Folder which replaces XP’s Documents and Settings.  Within the new folder structure, Vista has a folder called plain ‘Documents’, which replaces XP’s ‘My Documents’ folder.  The most important new subfolder is AppData.  Also to maintain backward compatibility, Vista has shortcut links to the old XP folders such as Local Settings and Application Data.”


41 Responses to AppData Folder in Windows Vista

  1. Carlos says:

    Did did the job, I found my file under appdata/local/temp.

  2. This tip really helped me. I thought I lost the APPDATA folder of another profile on my Vista PC. Thank GOD, I found it with this tip.

    Thank you very much.

  3. రామ says:

    Can I delete the AppData folder? What would I lose if I do? Currently, it is clocking at 9 GB on my machine. What if I try to reclaim this space?

    • techqa says:

      No, do not delete the AppData folder, as it is the equivalent to Windows XP’s Documents and Settings folder. You can delete folders within AppData, just makes sure you know what you’re doing.

      According to a forum post I found on

      “it is theoretically safe to remove all files from
      AppData\Local\*\** folders. However I am quite sure you cannot delete it
      entirely as Windows will complain that it needs
      it (at run time).”

      “In case the OP likes to free some space he should clean
      AppData\Local\Temp\* and look out for some large folders to clean up

      “The AppData\Local and
      AppData\LocalLow folders are the folders where applications store their
      “local machine only” settings. This means that these files are by
      default not synchronized to the roaming profile share (usually only in
      use for corporate users).

      The AppData\Roaming folder contains the settings for the applications
      (at least according to the guidelines).”

      This sounds pretty tricky, so make sure double check before deleting anything out of AppData. If you insist on deleting it, backup your data in case something might happen. Though it sounds like Windows won’t let you delete it anyway. If it’s a hidden folder in Windows, that usually means it’s important.

      • Jose says:

        The local folder in my AppData folder is taking up 137GB of space. My hard drive has like 3 gigs of space left. Obviously this is not normal. What should I do dude?

    • techqa says:

      If your AppData folder is sitting at around 9GB, to me that means you have quite a few programs installed on your computer, and that it might be time to go through and do some “spring cleaning”, removing the programs you don’t need. Please refer to my lengthy response to a similiar question to this post if you want to delete anything within the AppData folder.

  4. Marshall Zimmermann says:

    Should the AppData folder be backed up?…and if it’s not, what do I lose?

  5. Fire-Breath says:

    Can i move the AppData folder and all its contents to an external hard drive

  6. cforquer says:

    I am not able to install adobe reader. It downloads ok but error message “ERROR 1606 Adobe Reader 9.1 Cannot access network location %APPDATA%.” The same error pops up when I try to uninstall the version that is on my computer even though it does not work. Any help would be appreciated.

    • Alvin Guzman says:

      cforquer, i got the same problems on my vista home premium. do you have problems w/ word as well? if you find a solution kindly share with me. much appreciated…

    • Sudeep.A.I says:

      please click the link & follow the procedure as mentioned. It really worked for me & now i am able to download pdf without “Error 1606 %APPDATA%”.
      For Vista,
      1. Enter regedit in start search
      2. Select folder, HKEY_USERS\S-1-5-18
      \Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Explorer\User Shell Folders
      3. Right click on Appdata (in value list) on right pane
      4. Select Modify
      5. Check the data value for APPData value & it should be,
      6. If value is different or missing, just type as mentioned in step5.
      7. Next check for below also & do the above steps if value is wrong for APPData as mentiond in step5.
      HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Explorer\User Shell Folders

      I hope, this will solve your problem.

      • zain says:

        when i try it says “cannot edit: error writing the value’s new contents” help?

      • jessiechan says:

        Okay, I did everything you said. When I tried to change my data value in APPData (which was %APPDATA%, by the way), it told me that there was an error in the rewrite. Should I try the CURRENT_USER folder first? Or is there something wrong with my computer?

      • All_Is_Now_Well says:


        This worked spectacularly well for me! I was having trouble installing Acrobat and several other applications, including Java Updates. I would not be surprised if this is also why I could finally get some Office updates to install (which had been really stubborn until now).

        I did take care not to reverse the direction/orientation of either percent symbol, though. In my experience, machines are really picky about that sort of thing. That said, this worked like a charm for me!

      • Omylord says:

        That fix worked like a charm, I’d been going insane trying to find a fix! Cheers Sudeep!

      • meven says:

        when i try it says “cannot edit: error writing the value’s new contents” what do i do?

      • Sonia says:

        Hello, I follow your directions above and receive the message

        cannot edit AppData: Error writing the value’s new content

        Do you have any other suggestions?


      • Lyn says:

        i changed the value on the the as u stated but in step 7 what do u mean “check for below” pleas help me out

    • holt says:

      I have the exact same problem. I also cannot uninstall reader 7 which doesn’t work. Did you find help? Thanks

  7. Somekid4real says:

    When I try to download something new into my computer, it says “Cancled because it cannot locate the file %APPDATA%\. I can’t download anything new without that. Where can I redownload it? Also, I do not remember deleting it, so that is another problem.

  8. TriforceTrev says:

    When I try to install iTunes on my computer, I get a message saying: “cannot access network location %APPDATA%\”. Can someone tell me how to resolve this error message so I can install iTunes? This also happens when trying to install other things too.

    • Ltinguy says:

      Hello! Im having the same problem right now on my computer.. did you find a way to fix that problem?.. would you mind sharing how to fix it?
      Thank you

    • OnlyMe says:

      I have the same problem on my computer.
      Can anyone tell me how to resolve this error?

    • Sonia says:

      I have the same issue trying to install itunes and receive the error message “cannot access network location %APPDATA%\”. We have tried everything and computer will not install Quick Time. Thanks in advance for any guidance.


  9. Janice says:

    I keep getting this popup when I’m trying to uninstall or even re-install “The Shield Deluxe 2009” (anti-virus program)& almost to the end of the process it comes up with
    “%APPDATA%/”. I guess, some kind of way, the folder got lost. Can anyone help me with this?

  10. Ruby says:

    What If I’ve deleted the folder or moved it by any accident? What can I do?

  11. Chara says:

    Okay. Nobody’s replying about the people who can’t access “%APPDATA%”. Well I can’t access it either. I haven’t made a new download in two months because of it. What’s wrong?!


  12. Random says:

    Yeah I need help too, I have deleted my AppData folder, thinking it was a folder for old iPod Touch “Apps”. Is there any way to restore it?

  13. zain says:

    i tried to install sony vegas pro 9.0 trial but i got the message cannot find %APPDATA% where can i download appdata!!?!?!

  14. Leslie says:

    I am having this problem too. Was anybody able to help you?

  15. Fantastic post 😀 looking forward to seeing more

  16. Aseleener says:

    Thanks so much, Sudeep.A.I. I was having the same problems as everyone else who commented and I did what you suggested. It worked perfectly. Now I can install anything.

    Thanks so much for your help!

  17. My computer crashed and I have to reinstall Vista, but I can get to all of my files. Is it worth copying over the Appdata directory? Or does it matter if I am reinstalling the OS?

  18. L says:

    I did exactly what Sudeep said in my admin account!! it changed it but I am still having the same issues

    I am trying to install messanger live and Java!!


  19. nea says:

    i believe i deleted me appdata folder by accident. can anyone tell me how to restore it? i tried doing what sudeep said but theres not even a folder names appdata in the value so im fucked. please help.

  20. Sonia says:

    Does anyone have a solution for correcting the error message:

    could not access network location %APPDATA%|.

    I’m trying to install itunes update and cannot install or uninstall programs.

    Thanks in advance for any remedies.


  21. Michael Mroz says:

    A little irrelevant, but watch out for viruses. It’s a nice, out of the way system path that anyone can write to. No-one firewalls Appdata as it would cause to much chaos in clean apps, so virus writers will put things there… take me for example… was writing an experimental virus that was completely harmless, ran into a speedbump, so I forgot to implement the code that would recognise my specific machine, so when I overcame the problem, there were no more runtime errors, and my Appdata was crawling with my own virus that avast wouldnt detect, and it was growing too fast for me to stop it… had to end up restarting, and writing another program to track down all the manifests and delete them… as I said, a little irrelevant, but be wary of anything unfamiliar or dodgy in the Appdata folder….

  22. kris says:

    can someone help i keep getting a pop up that says error loading appdata\local\rorvct\dll and also says
    access denied help please i close it and it keeps poping out.

  23. JSmith says:

    Has anyone figured out the %appdata% thing yet?

  24. danae says:

    where can i locate this appdata folder because i cannot install itunes because it needs quicktime which requires the appdata folder to be availible…

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